As the second anniversary of the escape and rescue of three young women who had been kidnapped and held hostage for ten years approaches, a book penned by two the survivors reveals what gave them hope through their decade-long hell.

Amanda Berry Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were kidnapped separately in the same Cleveland neighborhood by Ariel Castro and kept chained in his dilapidated house subjecting them to years of rape, torture and abuse before their dramatic escape on May 6, 2013. Although their families never gave up hope over the years and the “Missing” posters featuring pictures of their innocent young faces still dotted the neighborhood, the news that they were alive was greeted with shock and joy around the world.


Berry and DeJesus have bravely shared not only the horrors of their years of captivity in a new book, but the oddly human moments that helped them survive. Castro fathered Berry’s daughter in 2006 three yeas after he kidnapped her a day before her 17th birthday, a child Berry said gave her hope for the future and a reason to live.

“I know it’s wrong, but I appreciate that he treats her so well and buys her clothes and toys. I desperately want her to have a normal life.”

Castro had repeatedly impregnated Michelle Knight, beating her so severely that she miscarried each time, which made Berry fear for the baby she was carrying. Jocelyn, who was six when she was rescued with her mother and the two other victims, was often taken by Castro on walks around the neighborhood and was reportedly not physically abused.

Castro pleaded guilty to 977 charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault, and rape, and was sentenced to life in prison plus one-thousand years without parole. He hung himself in his cell a month later.

The book, “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland,” was written with Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. Michelle Knight, the third victim, chose not to participate in the book project.


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